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Thursday, 07 January 2010

New Year's resolutions

Hi Enrico,

Happy New Year to you! It looks like you've started January off the way so many people plan to but don't actually get round to doing! I salute you for your endeavours! I'm sure lots of people reading your blog are very impressed by your running schedule.

It's so cold here in London just now I can't imagine many people running the distances you run, or maybe I'm just a wimp!

My way of keeping in shape is to ride my bike to work most days. But since the recent cold snap started, I have to admit I haven't ridden my bike once! Have you got any advice to get me back on it?

Now, let's have a look at your recent blog. I'd like to concentrate on just a couple of areas today – formal and informal language, and noun and adjective agreement.

There are a few times you used quite formal language and in a blog, the tone is usually informal. I think a few of the terms you used were from Italian and although your meaning is clear, I think we could improve on the word choice. I want to zoom in on the word localized and the symbol (+/-) , and so I hope you don't mind I've changed a few other words in the sentence so that we don't get distracted by them.

The town is localized (+/- )18 km from where I live in Rome.

Localized is a very formal word in English (as is the word situated). It would be more natural for us just to use the verb to be, and to say:

The town is 18 km from where I live.

In that sentence you also use the symbol (+/-) which is easy to understand but you could also use the word approximately (rather formal) or the more informal, about.

So you could write your original sentence like this:

The town is about 18 kms from where I live.

The word guys is very informal but we don't usually use it to talk about our children. It's a word we tend to use to talk about our friends or colleagues. To talk about our children, we tend to use boys (if they are young) or sons (to talk about either young or old male children). So instead of saying:

We have 2 guys and a baby.

You could say:

We have 2 sons and a daughter.


We have 2 boys and a girl.


We have 2 younger boys and a baby girl.

In English, we don't have to make adjectives plural when we use them with plural nouns. Dear is an adjective and friend is a noun. So instead of saying dears friends you should say dear friends.

Can you see what's wrong here?

I've known other runners friends.

Thanks for sharing all your lovely photos with us. Looking forward to hearing from you again.

Best wishes,


salute – if you salute someone you think they are doing something very brave or difficult
endeavours – tasks or things that are difficult or dangerous to do
plan – prepare or make arrangements to do things in the future
get round to doing – plan to do something (which you might not want to do because it's difficult or boring)
impressed – amazed
a wimp – a person who isn't very brave
cold snap – short period of cold weather
zoom in on – concentrate on, give full attention to
we don't get distracted by them – we don't give them our full attention (when we should be looking at something, here, the formal/informal language in the sentence)
colleagues – people we work with


Hello Nuala, it looks like you have the same weather as here in my country. In the previous days was snowing a lot, so the whole nature looks wonderful! I see you like riding a bike just like me! You know, I always riding a bike from my student home to University! Now I believe you cannot ride a bike because of weather so I have a proposal for you. If you do not have your work place too far from home then you can go on foot! :-) Lahko noč from Slovenia

Hi Nuala and everybody around, A Very Happy New Year to you too. I would like to thank you for the nice photo of the letter-box! Let me please put in it looks so pretty with its 'Icecapy'. The snow-studded seems to be full of virtue and asserting his position. Last summer we spent out holidays in eastern Germany. A day out we visited a place*, where the world's largest nutcracker is built up. I must say his column like pose was most exiting. Although he, since his inauguration as world's-largest-being (in Guinness World Records), has never nipped a walnut, he depicts perhaps the world famous region in Germany where the unique wooden figures are manufactured partially even with the devices made in the times of discoveries. In this museum you find umpteen thousands of nutcrackers from all over the world. Some of them are very funny and seem to be carved in very very relaxed moments...In this way the pitmen are kept in remembrance. I don't think in about the end of the 21st century the following generations would be reminded of how the mails and the 'mail-server' in the 20th century looked would probably be commentating that the predecessors were very competent in terms of the underground constructions of the 'mail servers'...Well, the possibility can't be ruled out but one could now be thinking it's as reliable as nutcracker's going to dentist's...,means it's not reliable at all, is it? *the Website of the Nutcracker Museum:

Hi Nuala .Happy new year2010 . recently I can access BBC site directly , so I hope to be one of your active commentator this month which I used to be in the past . have fun and cheers

Hi Naula, best wishes to you and your distinguished family for the new year. Talking about new year´s resolutions one of the most important resolution I have taken for this 2010 is reading and commenting on this extraordinary blog every day to improve my learning english. God luck with everything. Luis Mérida

Hello Nuala, welcome! Here we are all impressed by Enrico's passion to running, you are not the only wimp as you say :) Be patient - snow will thaw, you'll get a chance to ride a bike and... who knows... may be run :) Have a good weather!

Good morning Naula thank you dear teacher for advices I hope improving my next article Enrico

Hi Naula i saw bbc tv on last saturday and the cold temperature on in your country isn't ideal to go by bicycle but a lot of runners friends have got a treadmill or a cardio-bike for their home fitness .It very usefull , during this hard winter, make exercises in the spare time listening music or tv. Every day 10-15 mins help you feeling in shape and after you are satisfied about your results you can add time more than at first time. But a golden rule …to respect your personal limits . nice evening thank you for your advices to improve my english.

Hello, Nuala! These days I pay attention to the weather forecast when listening to the news ‘cause I’m scared of the ice on the road. Can a person be intimidated by this or any kind of weather? I don’t mind the cold or snow, I just don’t like not being able to walk on a slippery pavement and, consequently, falling down. We don’t have any snow here yet, just the opposite, when it isn’t raining, it’s sunny. But for how long? You can never be too cautious, do you? Is it a mailing post or box in the picture? It resembles Santa Clause, painted red like that, with a frozen fluffy snowy white top. Have I put all my adjectives in the correct order? Someone has already explained to me where to put which adjective defining a noun, but I cannot recall this grammar rule when I need it. Can you remind me or at least tell me where to look up, please? Benka from Serbia

Hi Nuala, I cannot quite believe that nobody has commented on your article yet. Maybe they are all frozen up. You'll never know. I was wondering, when I saw your picture and read your article, if you've ever had such masses of snow in London? It is a very bitter winter this year, hear where I live as well, but I have to admit, that I quite like it. My daughter is getting 2 in may, so it's her "first" winter and she really loves the snow and especially going tobagganing. Have you done that recently? It's so much fun. Maybe that's a good alternative to riding your bike these days? I would love to reading more from you soon. I'll watch out. Bye for now, Christine

so i admits that the "guys" use for male humans. Am i right?

Hi,Nuala!I found this website in the morning. I have to say it is a good palce. I read Enrico's blog about running plan.And your explanation is detailed.The traditional new year in China has not come yet.It will be 14 Feburary.Very interseting!Wish you a happy new year!

Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.

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